Brian Kelly answered questions about the 2015 Notre Dame Football team on Sunday following their victory over USC
What a great victory for Notre Dame this past Saturday! Beating Southern Cal makes it even more special. The Fighting Irish came out strong in the beginning of the game, lost some momentum in the second and third quarters and finished strong both offensively and defensively.
It certainly appears that this Fighting Irish team has a tremendous competitive mindset and a lot of grit. This certainly will help the team as it comes down the home stretch.
Let’s review some of the more important points Brian Kelly discussed at his press conference on what was a great weekend for the Fighting Irish. Coach Kelly wants to take some pressure off of DeShone Kizer by relying on the running game. He said there’s always a temptation to throw to Will Fuller and some of the other wide receivers. Because of DeShone’s progress, Kelly is allowing him to execute more types of passing plays. Kelly also mentioned how special it was for Corey Robinson to catch the game-winning touchdown. Corey had some confidence issues, but Kelly said he has worked through them and has had very good practice sessions.
Kelly described the growth of Will Fuller as a receiver. He said Will didn’t understand how to practice the right way, but finally learned how with the help of former Irish receiver T. J. Jones. Will has worked hard in the weight room and is now a stronger receiver who still retained his speed.
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The Fighting Irish have a bye week this week, but there is no bye for Brian Kelly and the coaches. All coaches will be recruiting this week in various parts of the country, with Kelly going to Michigan and Florida. Also, the bye week is important for the team. They can nurse injuries and get refreshed mentally. This break is vitally important because it will help the team for the last half of the season, especially since most of the games will be on the road.
It appears the Irish defense is really improving. They played well in the second half of the Clemson game and again in the second half of the Southern Cal game. Kelly wants the Fighting Irish to put together four great defensive quarters. He and the coaching staff will keep emphasizing fundamentals and assignments as the Irish face the second half of their schedule.
On a negative note, Alex Bars who had just replaced the injured Quenton Nelson at left guard, broke his ankle on Saturday and had surgery. Quenton, who missed a game with a sprained ankle, replaced Bars and did an outstanding job.
The resounding victory over Southern Cal increased the confidence of the entire team. The grit they showed after giving up their lead is, I think, a sign that this Notre Dame team is mentally strong. They have strong leaders in Joe Schmidt, Sheldon Day, Nick Martin, Matthias Farley and others. We will see a different second half of the season compared to last year. If the Fighting Irish can win out, there still is a chance they can make the four team playoff. With that knowledge, let’s enjoy the bye week.